Virtual Bunker Tours
Liberation 75 and the Channel Islands Occupation Society (CIOS) have teamed up to bring you five exclusive virtual tours of Second World War Bunkers in Jersey.
Embark on a virtual journey of discovery through Western Europe's best-preserved collection of German Second World War bunkers and defences in Jersey. During The Occupation, the occupying forces fortified Jersey and the other Channel Islands out of all proportion to their strategic value. This was to fulfil Hitler's personal instruction that they be turned into "impregnable forces". Hitler's 'Construction Orders' resulted in over 20% of the material that went into the 'Atlantic Wall' - a line of massive defence works which stretched from the Baltic to the Spanish frontier - being sent to the Channel Islands.
The bunkers are maintained by the CIOS. Find an overview of all of the bunkers in their care on the CIOS website.
How to watch
Only open to the public during a few days of the year, this is an exciting opportunity to see history preserved in time. Find the virtual tours here on the Liberation 75 YouTube channel. The virtual tours are guided by Marc Yates, who is a tour guide for Jersey Military Tours.
Battery Moltke, comprising 4 gun emplacements and an associated underground complex, was named in honour of Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, who was Chief of the German General Staff from 1906 to 1914.
This fully-restored bunker, with a ceiling that is 2 metres thick, was built to “Fortress” standards. It is fully equipped with original ventilation equipment, boiler, bunks, and central heating and links up with a personnel shelter that accommodated 27 men.
On permanent display outside is a heavy French First World War field gun. It has been restored and put back in its original emplacement, having been recovered from the bottom of the cliffs at Les Landes by The Channel Island Occupation Society in 1991. All of Jersey's 29 heavy coastal artillery guns were dumped over the cliffs in a massive clean-up operation ordered by the States of Jersey after the Liberation. Their demand was: “We want this island cleansed of the taint of German Occupation”. The job was entrusted to Major Sargent, of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC), who dumped the guns over the cliffs in February/March, 1946.
The gun, with a range of 19.5km, was captured in large quantities by the Germans when they occupied France in June, 1940. By this time, the guns were already ageing and were only intended to be a “stop gap” - to be replaced by modern, up-to-date artillery. This ship-designed gun would have been mounted in a 360 degree revolving armoured turret, providing protection for the gun crew.
However, this modernisation programme barely got off the ground because the Krupp factories were heavily bombed by Allied air raids on the Ruhr in 1942/43, and the production lines for the guns were destroyed. At Battery Moltke, the SKC emplacements with their ammunition hoists and connecting bunker complexes were constructed in preparation for the new guns, but they never arrived, and the old French weapons remained in service in their “temporary” emplacements.
Battery Lothringen, Underground Command Bunker, and Direction and Range-finding Tower
Uniquely, Battery Lothringen is the only Kriegsmarine (Nazi Germany Navy) battery in Jersey. Thousands of tourists and locals alike who come to Noirmont Point each year to take in the beautiful views, often stand on the former gun position.
Construction of Battery Lothrington started in March 1941 and was finally completed in May 1944. The Battery's four ageing guns (made in 1917) were put on these elevated platforms so that they could lower their guns sufficiently should there be a need to fire at Allied Troops directly in the bay of St Aubin or Portelet.
Underground, you’ll find the Command Bunker at a depth of 40ft on 2 floors. This impressive bunker was the Command Post (Leitstand) for the naval coastal artillery Battery 'Lothringen'. 1 of 4 built to a similar design in the Channel Islands, the bunker was mounted by a range-finder and 2 periscopes to work out the distance and speed of sea targets.
The Battery's guns were commanded and fired electrically from inside this Leitstand command bunker. Underneath the 2-storey bunker, which has been magnificently restored, is undoubtedly the very best surviving example from Hitler's much hyped Atlantic wall.
Nearby is the massive observation tower known as 'Marine Peilstand' or the 'Naval direction-finding tower'. It’s one of 3 constructed in Jersey, out of a planned total of 9.
The observation ‘slits’, set in 2 metres of concrete, provide an impressive setting for the distant sea views towards France. On top of the tower is a mounting for an anti-aircraft gun.
Naval Artillery Direction and Range-Finding Tower
This was the third of 3 towers that were built towards the end of 1942 into the spring of 1943. 9 were originally planned for the coastline of Jersey, but the increasing shortages of cement and return of forced and slave workers to the Continent at the end of August, 1943 resulted in the abandonment of the project.
Totally unique to the Channel Islands, these huge observation towers were also built to “Fortress” standards. Each of the 5 observation levels was intended to advise the distance of a target, along with the other observation towers. However, this method of range-finding had obvious limitations in bad weather, at night or if there were numerous targets on the horizon.
This tower was intended to bypass these difficulties with the installation of a radar on the roof. This gun-laying radar had an accurate detection range of around 15 miles.
Resistance Nest Millbrook
This bunker can be found on the sea wall adjacent to the cycle track and Old Station Café at Millbrook, Victoria Avenue.
Sealed in 1946 at the request of a local resident objecting to this “scar on the landscape”, the bunker avoided the Post War scrap metal drives. Apart from the removal of the gun and the exposed section of the observation bell, it was something of a time capsule when reopened in 1985.
The bunker housed an anti-tank gun and is one of 4 which were built that blocked the entrances of Victorian slipways running along St. Aubin’s Bay. The gun had a practical range of 2,900 metres, although at maximum elevation a range of 5,800 metres could be achieved.
All 4 gun sites in the bay fire in the same direction and are placed between 500 and 800 metres apart. This means their fields of fire would have overlapped and directly aimed at targets on the beach.
The gun was semi-automatic and could be set to automatically fire once a round was loaded. This gave a theoretical fire rate up to 35 rounds per minute, but 20 was more practical.
The gun seen today is not the original weapon (which was removed in 1945 by the British Army) but actually comes from Cherbourg in France, and still bears the marks of battle.
Today the bunker has been restored to pristine condition, but still retains a wealth of original fixtures and fittings including ventilation pumps, telecommunications system, a still functioning stove and even the lighting still runs on the original German wiring! The walls are also still clad in their original hardboard lining with gas alarm instructions, the remains of the sailors ‘pinup girl’ posters and even their names above where they hung clothes!
The La Corbière headland formed the base for one of the strongest of the Infantry Strongpoints in Jersey carrying an impressive array of weaponry and boasting 6 fortifications built to 'Fortress' standard. It also comprised of 2 metre thick reinforced concrete external walls and ceilings.
The gun was capable of firing up to 120 bombs a minute to a maximum range of 600 metres. Any enemy infantry observed within range of the automatic mortar would be hit by a stream of indirect (plunging) fire which would either 'neutralise' or drive the attacker back into the open where they could be dealt with by machine-guns.
What makes this bunker so unique is the long underground passage that links it to the neighbouring ‘Sechsschartentürm’ Bunker. The concrete-lined tunnel was not bored through the granite rock, but was constructed using the ‘cut and cover’ method. This tunnel building method involves constructing the tunnel and covering it with the excavated material.
Today the bunker has been restored to a very high standard, and the excellent displays and exhibits provide ample guidance to the workings of this unique installation as well as the German crew who manned it during the last year of the war – this is thanks to information given by the late Herr Engelbert Hoppe who was the last wartime Commander.
The neighbouring Sechsschartentürm Bunker had 2 machine-guns, each of which could fire 800 rounds a minute. They had a maximum range of 3,500 metres, allowing them to ‘sweep’ the southern end of St. Ouen’s Bay. This bunker served as the command bunker for Strongpoint Corbiere and was equipped with radio communications to relay observations taken from 6 armoured periscopes housed within the safety of the tower.
This bunker is common on the 'European Atlantic Wall', but this example is the only one of its kind to be found in the Channel Islands.